Our coverage of Bishop Jim Swilley’s recent decision to come out, with the support of his wife and family, touched off vigorous debate in comments on our website.

Re: “Swilley’s story: A gay pastor, his wife, and a deeper ministry” (Nov. 12)

"This article is articulate, sensitive and wonderful. Thank you for writing it with the Spirit it deserves. These people are my friends, my church family and leaders and I love them. God bless you."

"Thank you. I miss my church family and my work in youth ministry so much. Since I came out I have felt abandoned by a faith that I proclaimed my whole life. I needed this today. I never doubted that God loved me until a Christian told me that he didn’t anymore."

"Since Jim has memorized scriptures, he thinks that he is ready to “take on” anyone. Sound familiar? The devil quoted “it is written” to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. Problem is, he twisted scripture to obtain his own desire, which was to have Jesus Christ bow the knee to him. The devil hasn’t changed: still doing the same thing today, leading people to twist scripture to justify the desires of the flesh."

Gay mega-church pastor draws praise, condemnation

“I pray for all the people who are facing struggles with their own sexual identity. May we all fall in love with the Truth — not a “false truth” as quoted by Swilley that says embrace your feelings, this is how God made you, homosexuality is your identity, not a sin. No, that is not true. That is a lie.”

“Bishop and Pastor Debye: No greater love than a wife to give up her life for the man she loves and truly I’ve seen this love between you two for the nine years I’ve been at Church in the Now. I love you both and your family and my prayers are with you.”

“Every single person on this earth has something they struggle with. I am one hundred percent sure that I am called to minister but I am also one hundred percent sure that I am easily pulled into drinking. Does that mean that if I go out and drink myself to death that it is not my fault because I was born that way? No. I am sure this pastor knows God and I believe he does struggle with homosexuality, but just because you struggle with something does not mean you should let it defeat you.”

“Wow. Thank you for this. As the son of a pastor of almost 50 years and myself a former minister of music and youth for many years, this story hits home for me and explains exactly what I went through and how I feel. I have been out of church for over 17 years now and would love to attend a church that “gets it.”  I love this story.”

“Anyone reading this who has been a church-goer for years must think with heartbreak of the gay Christians that they know who tortured themselves to change — to no avail. I had a college friend in the late ‘80s with an evangelist’s heart, who should be in the ministry now, but she’s gay so this was not acceptable to the church, or to herself. What a loss! Time to accelerate this dialogue and embrace everyone in true Love.”

“Please read Revelation 22:13-19. We can’t change the Word of God or ignore it to condone our sins or desires. Yes, God loves you. There are consequences to our choices. And being given over to a reprobate mind happens to the unrepentant. Don’t preach these lies and take others down with you. But of course that is what Satan does. And that is who you are serving.”

“This story could have been written about my experiences in the last 50 years. I have endured all sorts of criticism and discrimination from people, but most of all “religious” straight people. I just celebrated my 30th year with the same man, and have watched those “religious” people divorce, have affairs, treat their wives or husbands shamefully and their children. Yet through God’s love and the love of my family and close friends, we have survived. I know that this is only because of my belief that God is a God of LOVE.”